New Castle News

Closer Look

December 26, 2012

Tragic tribute: Man creates lighted angel display as tribute to slain Newtown children

NEW CASTLE — Angels always have been a part of Christmas.

But not like this.

In Scripture, heavenly messengers announce “tidings of great joy” to shepherds near Bethlehem, proclaiming the birth of Jesus.

However, in the 4648 Harlansburg Road yard of Marsha and Jerry Martin, 20 wooden cherubim call attention instead to a national tragedy: the Dec. 14 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.  Twenty children and six adults died that day when a lone gunman went on a rampage before committing suicide.

Now, just a stone’s throw from traditional holiday decorations, the Martins’ home also features 20 winged plywood silhouettes – each one illuminated – as well as a star that shines above them. They were created and erected by 43-year-old New Castle native Ed Stoner, Marsha Martin’s son.

“I guess part of what got me is that on the news I kept hearing ‘20 angels,’ ‘20 angels,’ ” Stoner said. “That’s what gave me the angel idea. Every year we always put up Christmas lights and Christmas display for kids to enjoy. I just thought this would be a respectful addition to it.”

For Stoner, the display – which features 12 girls and eight boys — is not only a tribute to the slain children and their families, but also a way to come to grips with the full scope of the killings.

“It brings it into perspective for me,” he said. “You keep hearing that it was 20, but to me, 20 is just a number. But whenever you look at that and you actually see 20 angels, that really makes you understand. Twenty kids – that’s a whole basketball team; in some small towns, that might be an entire graduating class.

“When you see that physically, I think it helps drive that home. But I didn’t do it just for me, I did it for everybody else, and to remember and respect.”

It took Stoner about four days to create the display, and a few hours to set it up. His stepfather didn’t see it until the project was complete.

“I was doing some chores, and I didn’t realize what he was up to,” Jerry Martin said. “But when I came up and I saw all the children, I gotta admit, I started to get a little choked up.”

Stoner said his mother moved some of the family’s Christmas decorations to create a “respectful” separation between celebrating the season and remembering the taken.

And yet, perhaps just a bit of the Christmas message spills over any way.

“At first,” Stoner said, “I was planning on just doing the silhouettes. But then I added the star – just as a reminder that they are in a better place.”

(Email: d_irwin@ncnewsonline.com)

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Closer Look
  • Police.jpg Burglary suspect apprehended
    An East Side man has been charged in connection with a June burglary.

    August 2, 2014 1 Photo

  • well.jpg Lawyers to address fracking

    Lawyers will address public concerns about oil and gas regulations and other topics at a program next month. Oday Salim and Megan Lovett of Fair Shake Environmental Legal Services in Pittsburgh and attorney Michael Oliverio of Lynch Weis in Cranberry Township are to present the program.

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • Yauger.jpg Yauger enters guilty plea in federal court

    The former executive director of the local intermediate unit has entered a guilty plea in federal court.

     

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • Lottery.jpg Lottery officials: Seniors should get smaller payout

    State lottery officials say less means more for seniors. The lottery took in $3.8 billion in sales last year and will give more than $1 billion of it — or 28.5 percent — to programs for senior citizens.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • phone.jpg Attorney general warns of phone scams

    Assorted scams in the commonwealth have prompted a warning from the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office. Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane said several scams have been reported to the Bureau of Consumer Protection in recent weeks.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • disability.jpg Disabilities group unveils new icon

    Disability Options Network is joining forces with the Accessible Icon Project. Officials of the community organization, located at 1929 E. Washington St., said its new icon will replace the current international symbol for accessibility.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • well.jpg Auditor: State doesn’t have enough inspectors to monitor wells

    The state’s 83 well inspectors face a daunting enough challenge keeping tabs on 120,000 active oil and gas wells that have been drilled over the last century.

     

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • vote.jpg Independent hopefuls may widen gubernatorial field

    Just when Pennsylvania voters were getting used to the idea of a gubernatorial election showdown between Republican incumbent Tom Corbett and Democratic challenger Tom Wolf, other hopefuls may soon be joining the fray.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • manna.jpg John K. Manna: Measuring the money

    Should we even bother to have an election in November? By some accounts, maybe the results of some contests are already in.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • shooting.jpg Man injured in city shooting

    A man was flown to a Pittsburgh hospital Thursday morning following a shooting on West Lincoln Avenue.

     

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

House Ads
Seasonal Content
Section Teases
Must Read
Continuous Super Bowl Coverage